- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The iconic A-10 Thunderbolt II will be flying into the late 2030s thanks to a re-winging project completed by the U.S. Air Force.

Air Force Materiel Command said in a press release on Monday that 162 A-10s received new wings thanks to a $1.1 billion project that began in 2011.

The contract, awarded to Boeing in 2007, required the creation of new parts for the plane’s fuselage. 

“At the end of the program, making sure we had all the pieces and parts that we needed to make that happen required a really significant team effort,” said Stephen Zaiser, director of the 571st, Air Force Times reported Tuesday. “I think the fact that we produced the aircraft so successfully is a testament to the whole team, the special program office, Boeing and others that were a part of making it all work.”

The “low and slow” flying Warthog — along with the “BRRRTTTTT!” noise made by its 30mm GAU-8/A cannon — has been a favorite of ground troops since the 1970s, although budget battles related to the F-35 stealth fighter in recent years almost forced the aircraft into retirement.

Lt. Col. Ryan Richardson, commander of the 514th Flight Test Squadron and an A-10 test pilot, praised the aircraft’s longevity.

“It flew great and passed all the [functional check flight] checks,” he said regarding test flights in July, the newspaper reported. “It’s unusual to have an airplane in production for as long as this one was and have it come out and fly as well as this one did.”

These re-winged aircraft constitute 61% of the nation’s Warthogs, Air Force Times added.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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